The first Notre Dame practice had just concluded.
It was a two hour session where Notre Dame pumped out buzz of crowds and humidity.
Seconds after practice, Notre Dame gathered around coach Marcus Freeman and told them the effort wasn’t good enough. Freeman used a few select words to demand more from his team from a readiness standpoint as some players were not successful in training due to the overheating.
It was a letter Freeman had to send to set the standards because a trip to Ohio was four weeks away.
It must be tough,” Freeman said in his post-practice press conference. “It doesn’t change. We don’t change what we’re doing. It’s going to be difficult. We had two guys who couldn’t finish training today, and it’s their job to make sure they’re available for training. It’s the coach’s job to make sure they protect the player.”
“I was trying to send a message to these guys, ‘Hey, all you have to do is make sure you’re available for training. “We had two guys go out because of the heat. All you have to do is to make sure you’re available, we have to do it because we don’t change.”
Freeman downplayed the Ohio State game during the holiday season, but now it’s a rough time and every move has been counted — including the message to his team.
“I do believe in what we sort of identified during fall camp,” Freeman explained. “I think that’s what we need to be ready to go. And we’re not going to change. We’ll always look back and review and say, ‘Is there anything we can do to improve it?’ But the length of training, the effort, the way we challenge our players, that’s not going to change. If they’re looking for Our withdrawal, it’s not going to happen. They have to keep doing whatever it takes to make sure they’re ready to go.”
The Irish weren’t in the pads, but multiple intervals from 11 to 11 were filled with crowd noises pipes through the loudspeakers. It was by design. Sure, it would help prepare Notre Dame for The Horseshoe, but Freeman had another reason for wanting to hype.
“The noise of the fans, it’s not about anything other than I want the coaches to let the players play,” Freeman said. “It was really motivating. When you’re inside, you can’t hear anything. Outside, they can scream a little bit. But I want the coaches to let these guys start from day one, to learn how to communicate with each other, how to solve problems without the coaches in field”.
Outside of the 11 on 11 script drives period, Notre Dame had their runs 1 on 1, 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 in the red, which was also by design.
“We started in the red, and that was very intentional,” Freeman explained. “I think it was Al Golden who said in the NFL that they did it for the long-term work of skilled players. I’m not trying to take it simply, but it has progressed in terms of how long the pegs work and our databases. That’s what we started on Spring, we’ll start in the red and then we’ll work our way up to the middle of the field. That’s why we did it.”
The red zone is an area that Notre Dame needs to improve as the Irish finished 32nd in the country last year in the red zone offensive.
It was a mixed bag on both sides of the ball, so if you’re a Freeman, this is something you’ll want to see.
“She was going back and forth,” Freeman said. “It was really good to see him. I think the defense has depth and that’s something for me that was noticeable. Abuse, we’re not as deep as we want yet. We’ll keep going up to that point. But it was good. I saw some good things from attacking, some good things.” of defense.”
Freeman also spent a lot of time on the offensive side of the ball during the season. He’s sat in Tommy Reese’s quarterback meetings and on Friday, Freeman moved to each position group on either side of the ball.
The knowledge allowed Freeman to see the game from a different perspective and to communicate more with his players.
“It was really nice to spend so much time with my midfielders to see their progress,” Freeman said. I tell them all the time, “You will be blamed if things don’t go well and it’s not always your fault.”
“The perfect example today is Tyler (Buchner) throwing the ball. It looked like he was a bad throw. I don’t know who was on the road, kinda didn’t turn the lane quite right. I looked at Tyler and said, ‘Hey, that’s why you should be held accountable. People because from my point of view, I looked and that was a bad throw.” No, that wasn’t a bad throw. We made sure we were on the right track. So a lot of things fall on the board of these psychics. That’s who I spend most of my time with and so It was great to see it from their point of view.”
Speaking of the quarterback, Freeman said it’s an open competition. Buchner got the most reps due to Friday’s first-team attack and the Year 1 coach wants to name the rookie sooner rather than later.
“It’s a two-way fight now between Tyler and Drew (Paine),” Freeman said. “I think they all made big strides in the spring. Tyler missed the last two practices. One was the spring game and practice before that. But, he got 13 really good practices. I thought both guys had very good springs. Then Steve (Angeli) and Ronnie ( Powlus), these guys have pretty good springs in terms of progression. But what you’ll see is that Drew and Tyler fight it. They’ll both get rep with those. And again, when coach Reese and I and the offensive staff felt it got to a point where there’s the quarterback who showed us that The starting player, we’ll call him.”